18 Great 1990s Performance Cars You Totally Forgot

The '90s were great for semi-secret performance cars.


The 1990s offered so many performance cars, many of them have been nearly forgotten. This is a celebration of the cars you that may have slipped most people's minds, or that don't get their fair share of the limelight, according to you.

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Lexus SC

The Lexus SC300 was basically a more luxurious Supra, equipped with a naturally aspirated version of the 2JZ straight-six. The V8 version had the same drivetrain as the ultra-reliable LS400. in good condition for sale right now.

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Dodge Stealth

The Stealth is basically just a rebadged Mitsubishi 3000GT, though it doesn't get nearly as much love. It looks just as strange, and has a neat wing mounted at the base of the rear window. is up for bidding on eBay.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited

Some people consider the 5.9-liter Grand Cherokee the original high-performance SUV. The Magnum V8 pushed out 245 horsepower and 345 lb.-ft. of torque, which were impressive numbers in the '90s. It could get to 60 MPH in just 6.8 seconds, making it the quickest SUV you could buy when new.

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Lotus Elan (M100)

People love the original Elan, but don't often bring up the front-wheel drive version from the 1990s. Though it didn't exactly live up to the legend, it was still fantastic to drive. for just under $17,000.

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Ford Taurus SHO

At one point, the Taurus was the best-selling car in the US. The SHO, then, was the best of the best. Though fairly tame on the outside, a Yamaha-built V6 capable of revving to 7000 rpm lurks under the hood. It's connected to a Mazda five-speed manual sending power to the front wheels. is for sale right now.

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Nissan Pulsar GTI-R

The R32 Skyline GT-R wasn't the only homologation special Nissan built in the '90s. There was also the Pulsar GTI-R, an AWD, turbocharged hatchback built so the company could run in the World Rally Championship. The GTI-R was never sold in America, but luckily, it's now old enough to import. is already in America, and you can own it.

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Brian Silvestro
Panoz Roadster

Panoz as a company is pretty obscure on its own, so you could imagine how little love its relatively unknown Roadster gets. It looks like a mix between a Caterham and a muscle car, powered by a 5.0-liter Ford V8. As you can imagine, it's quite quick. right now on eBay.

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Chevrolet Impala SS

It's easy to forget the high-spec Impala SS considering its stately looks and cop-car derivation. But , it's hard not to imagine yourself cruising down the freeway in big-body style.

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Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX

The Mitsubishi Eclipse is so closely tied to the Fast & Furious movies, folks seem to forget it's a legitimate performance car even in stock form. Especially the rare, all-wheel-drive GSX version, which came with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 210 horsepower. is in spectacular condition, and has a bunch of tasteful mods.

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Mercedes Benz 500E

The ridiculous AMG Hammer is the W124-chassis muscle car everyone remembers, but the 500E is a masterpiece too. Mercedes turned to Porsche to fit the 5.0 liter V8 from the 500SL roadster and an upgraded suspension to the relatively staid E-Class. Subtle, but it could give an M5 from the era a run for its money. you can own.

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Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo

Want an early-90s car with legitimate rally credentials that isn't a Subaru or Mitsubishi? Find one of these, a Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo, also known as the Celica GT-Four. As the name suggests, this Celica came with all-wheel-drive and a turbo four that made around 220 horsepower stock.

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Wikimedia Commons + Mr.chopper
BMW M3 Lightweight

Okay. Everyone knows the E36 M3, but did you know BMW made a super-limited ? BMW churned out 125 creatively named M3 Lightweights, which featured more aggressive suspension, a stripped out interior, a big rear wing and Motorsport graphics. If you can find one, expect to pay a hefty premium, though.

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Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442

Despite its muscle car-inspired name, the is the opposite of the 1960s convention. It is, however, a legitimate front-wheel-drive sport compact. With a 180 horsepower inline-four, the Cutlass Calais Quad 442 was an SCCA favorite.

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Porsche 968 Club Sport

Porsche's short-lived 968 dwells in the shadow of its predecessor, the 944, and its successor, the Boxster. The was arguably the best non-turbo iteration of the 924/944/968 line, but everyone forgets it exists. It might be one of the best front-engined cars Porsche ever built.

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Dodge Neon R/T

While it's rare to see a Neon on the road today, there was a time when entire grids of these cars dominated the SCCA. At one time, Dodge offered the Neon ACR, which came with upgraded suspension components in the trunk to be installed later. The Neon R/T is a more street-friendly version of the ACR.

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Nissan Sentra SE-R

Nissan's Sentra SE-R was a critically acclaimed performance bargain in its day, but no one seems to remember it now. At only 2500 lbs, it's light, and its 140-horsepower inline-four revs all the way to 7500 rpm.

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Volvo 850 R

The was the first time Volvo really let its hair down and partied. It made a very respectable 240 horsepower from its turbocharged five-cylinder, but looked subtle enough to blend into the background. Its spirit lives on today in the lovely V60 Polestar. painted in black is for sale right now.

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Volkswagen Corrado VR6

The Corrado VR6 is the sort of car you wish Volkswagen made today: Genuinely stylish, and genuinely quick, with its 178 horse, narrow-angle VR6. These cars have a bit of a cult following for good reason. looks to be in near-perfect condition, and you can own it.

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